Gordon Legal and Berrill & Watson will provide you with a free and no obligation initial assessment of whether you are able to make a claim against your insurer and if so, how you should do so.
There are many common features across individual insurance policies and within policies. However, there are also some differences which need to be understood. Obtaining independent legal advice is critical to business owners understanding their entitlements.
Gordon Legal is offering to review your insurance policy and provide free preliminary advice. Once you receive that advice you can decide whether to proceed or not – there will be no obligation on you to proceed or to instruct Gordon Legal to act on your behalf.
To receive free legal advice regarding your entitlements, you may:
Business interruption insurance provides cover for business owners if their business is not able to operate normally, arising from factors outside your control.
There are different types of business interruption cover, some of which may cover losses relating to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia and/or the restrictions on trading imposed by the various State, Terrtory and Federal Government agencies arising from COVID-19.
If you have an “industrial special risk” or “business insurance” policy, you are very likely to have business interruption cover included as part of those policies. If you are unsure whether your policy provides business interruption cover, contact us and we can check for you.
There are generally two types of business interruption cover which are relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak. These are:
There may also be types of cover that are a combination of both.
“Infectious diseases” clauses cover interruption to business caused by the closure or evacuation of the business due to an outbreak of an infectious disease at or within a defined geographic radius of the business.
“Prevention of access” clauses cover interruption to business caused by an order of an authority or government body which prevents or hinders the use of or access to the business. The order must usually be made because of damage to property or persons at or within a defined geographic radius of the business.
Many business owners have had their business interruption insurance claims rejected by their insurers or have been told by their insurer that the policy don’t cover them.
We believe that many of these insurers have simply got that wrong and the information they have given business owners may be misleading and/or inaccurate.
It is crucial that you seek independent legal advice on your entitlements under your policy. Contact us and we can review your policy terms and how they may impact your claim for COVID-19 business interruption.
Yes. There are a number of avenues open to you to dispute your insurer’s rejection of your claim. For more information, contact us and we can provide you with the guidance you need.
You may have an exclusion in your policy for diseases declared to be either:
Some policies have no exclusion clause at all.
Contact us and we will check whether your policy has any exclusion clause and, if so, whether the exclusion would impact your claim.
The Quarantine Act 1908 was the legislation that governed Australia’s biosecurity powers. It allowed the federal government to declare certain diseases to be “quarantinable diseases” and take action in response to the biosecurity threat imposed by those diseases.
The Quarantine Act was repealed on 16 June 2016 and replaced by the Biosecurity Act 2015. The Biosecurity Act broadened the government’s biosecurity powers and allowed it to declare certain diseases to be “listed human diseases”.
The relevance of the two Acts to business interruption claims is that COVID-19 was declared to be a “listed human disease” under the Biosecurity Act, but was never declared to be a “quarantinable disease” under the Quarantine Act because the Quarantine Act was no longer in force when COVID-19 arrived in Australia.
Many business interruption policies had an exclusion for quarantinable diseases under the Quarantine Act, but insurers failed to update the policy wording when the Quarantine Act was repealed and replaced by the Biosecurity Act. Those insurers that failed to do so may be liable to pay claims for COVID-19 losses as a result.
For your claim to be successful, you may need to prove some or all of the following::
The specific requirements of a claim will vary depending on your individual policy terms and on the type of business you have.
If your claim has been rejected by your insurer, you need to get independent legal advice about your right to challenge that decision. There are a number of different avenues available to you to pursue in order to challenge your insurer’s decision.
We expect that insurers will seek to delay the claims process for as long as possible, or at least until the various legal challenges in relation to the validity of these policies and the relevant exclusion clauses have run their course. This may take many months. In the meantime, it is critical that you obtain advice to assist you in understanding your entitlements, whether and how to lodge a claim and what to do if your claim is rejected by your insurer.
If you have a lawyer who has experience in insurance claims, they will be able to help you. Gordon Legal is working in collaboration with Berrill Watson to ensure that we are able to provide clients with the assistance they need to both understand their legal entitlements and pursue them successfully, including, if necessary through litigation.
Provide advice on your entitlements to claim, how you should do so and give you advice on how to successful pursue your entitlements.
Your policy schedule will set out the amount of cover you hold for business interruption. Your schedule may also have a sub-limit for the amount of loss you can claim under the infectious diseases or prevention of access clauses in your policy.
Generally, losses can be calculated by comparing your reduced business turnover since the COVID-19 outbreak with the turnover during the same period in the previous year. Although this may vary depending on your insurer.
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